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Friday 29th April 2011

I wasn't really bothered about the Royal Wedding and decided to go for a run along Lowestoft beach instead of watching the parade of hats and people discussing what the choice of designer meant for Kate Middleton's mum. But I had had a couple of glasses of wine last night to celebrate not having been stabbed in the face with a knitting needle and my legs were heavy. It was very quiet out on the beach, presumably because the elderly and/or overweight residents of Lowestoft had decided not to come out on their mobility scooters but stay inside of speculate about the state of Tara Palmer Tompkinson's ear cartilage nose (I was still looking at Twitter). There was an eerie calm over East Anglia and maybe the whole world. Two billion people were watching this wedding. If only I had been too it would have bee two billion and one.
When I got back to the hotel the TV in the lobby was on at such a high volume (for the elderly couple who were sitting about three feet away) that I had to escape to my room. I was the Scrooge of royal matrimony.
But it wasn't too long before we were in Norwich and I turned on my TV in the room and saw a little highlights package and even I was a bit won over by the romance of it all. Prince William seems like a genuinely nice young man, and as easy as it would be to be cynical and say the whole thing had been stage managed to help bring a struggling monarchy up to date, I am going to be uncynical for once and hope that he and Princess William (yeah, bet she's regretting marrying him now) might be able to bring the royal family into the 21st Century. They look like they actually love each other - awkward balcony kiss aside - and that would make a nice change for the Royals. I am more of a republican than a royalist, though it might well be the case that our royal family do a lot of good for our country and if we could have a modern king, a little more in touch with his people, using his position to make a difference on a social level, then that wouldn't be such a bad thing. And as a historian I love the connection between that young man and the dead kings who were under his feet in the Abbey (even if I suspect that at some point the actual blood line would have been broken by queenly infidelity). But perhaps I had just been duped by the royal spin doctors and the Channel 5 Will and Kate film that I watched a bit of and William is as big a twat as all the other posh idiots who rule over us. I hoped that the Queen might abdicate as a wedding gift and then stick a red hot poker up Prince Charles' mousehole (or maybe Prince Phillip could have beheaded him with his sword) so that King Wills and Queen Wills could take over immediately and lead us into a brave new world of equality and peace. But the old trout is hanging on to power for as long as she can. Wills first son will be bald before she drops off her perch.
And in more cynical terms as I watched Kate smiling on the balcony I wondered if Will Carling was at home watching it too and wondering if he might go for the double.
I was a little bit hungover in the afternoon but bumbled around in Norwich town centre, drinking coffee and observing the wonderful Eastern Angles, who like the other people at the edges of our kingdom are wonderfully non-conformist (or differently conformist) and cool and only slightly in-bred. I feel comfortable amongst such people.
And the first show of my three night residency here went well. It was almost full and there were only four protestors (plus police and a riot van) though I didn't go out to talk to them, because they were led by a man who had sent a letter to the theatre that I considered to be rather too threatening, as well as grammatically challenged. I wasn't scared of him as I had seen him last night too, but I didn't think it was right to go and talk to him or film him. And if last night taught me anything it is that there is little point in trying to reason with these people. I think it enormously damages their position that they haven't even seen the show that they are protesting against, because again and again I am told by people (including Christians) that have bothered to watch it that is if anything surprisingly inoffensive and fair-minded.
My girlfriend and some of our friends were here so we all went out for more drinks in Franks' bar which was very civilised for a Bank Holiday Friday. I don't want to get back into the habit of drinking, especially as I had felt a little nauseous in the first half of the show tonight, but it is also good that I am managing to cut loose a little bit. And Holiday Day Inn Mistaking Pete had more beers than he has had in the rest of the tour put together and after our regime of dieting and having early nights it was good to see him having some fun. We stumbled back towards our hotel before deciding we'd be better off in a cab.


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